New mother Emily Button-Lynham shares her heartfelt postpartum journey about feeling empty after having a child. She also shares tips that helped her stay sane in those early days. This is Emily’s story.
I always knew motherhood would be a shock to the system. And I was ready for the physical impacts of having had a baby – exhaustion, sore boobs, pain from birth, aches. However, I think I completely underestimated the mental impact of being a new mother. Once the fog of the first 2 weeks lifted and I was in the routine of ‘feed, burp, change, sleep, repeat’, I found I missed using my brain.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is a huge amount to think about with a new-born baby, from worrying if they are still breathing when asleep, to googling the colour of their poos (don’t do it). However, I really missed the creativity I unlocked when I was working – the problem-solving, the helping people, the strategizing. I missed being asked for my advice. I missed thinking of different ways to tackle something and for being valued based on my input.
With speaking to other new mothers, I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt the lack of mental stimulation in my daily life. Who yearned for the person they used to be as well as relishing the wonderful-ness of having giving birth to this little thing that you are still getting to know.
As a society, I think people tend to gloss over the hardships and focus on how lovely having a baby is. It is lovely. But it is also blo*dy hard at the same time and these things don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
I feel like I am starting to get into a bit of a routine as I’m coming out of the newborn bubble. Hence, I wanted to share some tips that helped me to stay sane in those early days.
Mental Stimulation as a New Mother
- Listen to podcasts/audiobooks – Whether I’m walking around the park or putting out the washing, I always have something to listen to which allows me to think; whether that’s current affairs or true crime.
- Spend time with people who haven’t just had a baby – although it is great to have a group of women who are in the same boat as you (the baby group WhatsApp goes crazy during night-time feeds!) it’s also good to speak with people about things other than your baby. This allows you to still feel that connection to the outside world and not just in a baby bubble
- Get out in the fresh air every day (come rain or shine) – having a dog is helpful for this, but I felt so much brighter after being outside. Invest in a good coat and a pair of boots!
- Try and do something for you every day – this doesn’t have to be something hugely time-consuming. It can be getting a coffee from your favourite coffee shop, having a bath, reading a few pages of a book etc. The more you fill up your cup, the more you will have for your baby and the others around you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – people love to feel needed, but they don’t always know what you need. Asking for help doesn’t mean you have failed as a mother, it says you are human
I think when you have a baby you have to look at everything in phases. In the toughest of times, you need to know that everything is just a phase and this too will pass. Babies grow up so quickly. And when you look back, you will forget much of the hard parts and focus on the good.
Emily is a Career and Business Coach and is the founder of Emily Button Creative. She works with women throughout the various phases of their lives to re-define their own version of success, curate and design, and life vision and to make it happen. If you’d like to work with her then please contact her or follow her on Instagram and Linkedin.
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